Awe-inspiring buildings, fascinating tales of an industrial past and a fabulous foodie and music scene are all part and parcel of Glasgow’s energetic vibe. A true culture capital, city breaks in Glasgow are always glorious, but for seasonal beauty and the chance to make the most of warming Scottish cuisine, the latter part of the year is an especially good time to visit.
Read on for reasons why you should check out Scotland’s biggest city before the year is out.
1. See the city come alive with colour
The yellows, golds and ruby hues of autumn make Glasgow's public spaces particularly picturesque places to be. In Kelvingrove Park, you can stroll along walking trails and gaze at statues dotted throughout the park, before wandering past some of the West End’s impressive Glasgow University buildings. And if you're looking for culture along with your autumnal scenery, Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery has everything from Monet and Van Gogh masterpieces to organ recitals and designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
2. Get your caffeine fix
Glasgow loves a good cup of coffee and there are plenty of amazing cafés to curl up in and watch the world go by. In fact, the city even hosts its own coffee festival, which was also the first of its kind to ban all disposable coffee cups.
Warm up on a crisp autumnal morning with a delicious brew from Laboratorio Espresso on West Nile Street, or learn more about making the perfect espresso in one of Dear Green Coffee Roasters' weekly classes.
3. Check out what else is brewing
There’s also a beer or two to be had in this city. When you join a distillery tour of the Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery, you’ll learn all about Scotland’s most-loved pint of lager and see why this beer been such a large part of Scottish culture for generations.
The gift shop also has an amazing range of goodies and gifts for all the beer lovers in your life. You’ll get to try a wee taste too, so what are you waiting for?
4. Catch the boat to the Isle of Bute
You might not realise it, but in Glasgow you are only 90 minutes away from an incredible Scottish island. Discover the history of the isle at the Bute Museum and admire the 13th century Rothesay Castle. Simply catch the train to Wemyss Bay from Glasgow Central, then step aboard the Calmac ferry to the Isle of Bute, where you can spend the day discovering Rothesay, the island’s biggest town. A picturesque sea of greens and blues in spring and summer, in autumn the island’s coastline is a riot of reds, golds and yellows set against the deep blue of the Firth of Clyde and Scotland’s winter skies. What’s more, autumn is the perfect time to spot some of the isle’s wildlife, including the seal colony that resides close to the red sands of Scalpsie Bay.
5. Enjoy nightlife that's second to none
Glasgow’s reputation for live music is legendary; so much so that the city has been given UNESCO City of Music status.
Known for its outdoor concerts in summer, in autumn and winter the city’s indoor music halls come into their own! Why not catch a gig or a concert in one of its amazing venues, such as the Barrowland Ballroom or King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, or visit a pub with folk music regulars? The Ben Nevis or the Babbity Bowster are both top toe-tapping choices.
Alternatively, head to the West End. Brimming with amazing cocktail bars, craft beer haunts and traditional pubs, there's lots to choose from if you’re looking for a quieter evening out or a cosy spot to escape the frosty winter nights.
6. Stop for ‘A Play, A Pie & A Pint’ at lunch
If you're looking for a mix of culture and cuisine, head to Òran Mór. Located at the top of Byres Road in the West End in what was once the Kelvinside Parish Church, the live music and entertainment venue's name comes from the Gaelic for ‘great melody of life’ or ‘big song’.
From Monday to Saturday, you can catch A Play, A Pie & A Pint at lunchtime, the perfect way to while away chilly winter days and get a taste of local culture to boot. There’s also live music, wall murals from local artist Alasdair Gray, and two bars serving a fine selection of whiskies and cocktails.
7. Try a few vegan delights
Famed as one of the UK’s most vegan friendly cities, Glasgow has plenty of delicious veggie and vegan eateries to choose from.
Just off Argyle Street in the trendy area of Finnieston, the 78 is a lovely spot to grab a bite with vintage armchairs and an open fire to keep you cosy. Try a scrummy serving of the jackfruit shawarma or the vegan breakfast plate, as well as a great selection of vegan beers.
8. Channel your inner shopaholic
As the end of the year approaches and the weather starts to change, perhaps it’s time for a new wardrobe. And with one of the best shopping scenes in the UK, Glasgow's the place to find it!
Stroll through Glasgow’s Style Mile, the area between Buchanan Street, Argyle Street and the Merchant City, and fill up your bags with a combination of high street fashion and designer favourites. Alternatively, hit Byres Road and try and source a few second-hand bargains and vintage finds in the West End.
9. Dance the night away at a ceilidh
As the days shorten, a trip to one of the oldest pubs in Glasgow, Sloan’s Bar, will brighten up your nights with dancing and merriment, all set within a gorgeously restored Parisian-style building, which started its days as a coffee shop back in 1797.
Join in an energetic ceilidh and boogie the night away (in traditional Scottish style) or settle down with a classic movie on film nights in the Grand Ballroom.